Encouraging sustainability for green coffee: Strauss Coffee and the 4C Association
Strauss Coffee’s history dates back to the founding of Strauss Dairy by Hilda and Richard Strauss in Israel in the year 1936. In 1997, the company acquired Elite Industries, a coffee and chocolate company that was established in 1934.
Today, Strauss Coffee is geographically divided into European and Brazilian activities. Our products have leading market positions in Israel and Brazil (through partnership with the Lima brothers of 3 Corações), and also enjoy strong positions in Poland, Romania, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine.
The company headquarters are located in Holland, and the purchasing centre for green coffee for the European factories is located in Zug, Switzerland. In our 15 coffee production sites around the world, we employ some 6000 people.
At Strauss, we think globally but act locally with a portfolio of several assorted coffee products (principally R&G, Espresso and Instant) sold under the following brands: in Israel, the market leading brand is “Elite”; while in Brazil the leading brands are “Café Tres Corações“, “Santa Clara“, “Kimimo”, “Fino Grão”, “Pimpinela” and “Leticia”.
In Romania, Serbia and the former Yugoslav republics, the Group’s major brand is “Don Café“. Additionally, in Serbia the Group sells coffee under the “C-KAFA” and “Fort” brands; in Romania the brands are “Elita” and “Selected” (under the master brand Don Café) and “Fort”; in Russia and Ukraine, “Chornaya Karta” , “Totti”, “Le Café” and “Ambassador“; and in Poland the “MK” and “Pedros” brands.
The consolidated figures for the entire Group (both Europe and Brazil) place Strauss Coffee 5th worldwide in the landscape of coffee roasting companies, with a total volume of 3.9 million green coffee bags annually. Having said that, the lion’s share of procurement is carried out in Brazil, the world’s second biggest coffee consuming market. For this reason, Brazil is the major supplier of the Group’s total green coffee requirements.
At Strauss Commodities, Switzerland, the procurement of sustainably produced green coffee has grown rapidly in the past years and has become a major task of our daily activities. We procure verified Arabica and Robusta beans from all major producing countries around the globe. Special emphasis is being given to Vietnam, where we have maintained a representative office for more than 10 years now. This closeness to Vietnam is of vital interest and we welcome the growing number of 4C verified producers and exporters in the country!
As part of our CSR strategy, Strauss has chosen 4C Association as the most appropriate for cooperation as, like the 4C Association, we believe that encouraging sustainability for green coffee is a productive, competitive and efficient way to enhance the economic conditions of individuals working in the growing, post-harvest, processing and trading of green coffee.
The major tool to promote sustainability within the coffee supply chain is defined by the Association’s Code of Conduct which is built on 4 basic pillars:
• Unacceptable Practices
Such as worst form of child labour, trafficking of persons, failure to provide potable water to all workers, use of banned pesticides, cutting of primary forest or destruction of other forms of natural resources, immoral transactions in business relations etc.
• Social Dimension
Equal rights with respect to gender, maternity, religion, ethnicity, physical conditions and political views guaranteed, right to childhood and education, working hours and wages comply with national laws and international conventions, training and skills improvement
• Environmental Dimension
Conservation of biodiversity and protection of endangered native flora and fauna, minimized usage of pesticides, soil conservation practices, conservation of water resources, waste water management, preferential use of renewable energy and energy conservation
• Economic Dimension
Accessible market information, coffee quality monitoring, transparent pricing mechanisms and record keeping to improve efficiency and performance.
Benchmarking and verification units implemented by the 4C Association guarantee steady control and supervision of all parties involved in the supply chain at a coffee growing country that can be a group of farmers, an export organisation, a local trader, a coffee mill or even a roaster.
The approach held is a long-term one, handling the issues of social, environmental and economical sustainability within the entire supply chain and therefore is perfectly in line with our own Code of Ethics
Strauss joined the 4C Association in the second half of 2007; our sister company 3 Corações SA in Brazil became an exporter member in the year 2010.
From the very beginning of our membership, we pledged our full commitment as a Trade & Industry member. In 2009, we were one of the first companies to sign up for the “call for commitment” launched by the Association in order to guarantee steadily growing purchasing volumes of 4C verified coffees. Following this 3 year period from 2009 to 2011, we have now committed once again for a period of 4 years to increase our European purchasing volumes of 4C verified coffee by 20% per annum.
We decided this substantial expansion not only to underline our support for the 4C Association and to be part of an organization that will consequently improve the livelihood of thousands of coffee farmers, but also are willing to educate consumers about the concepts, visions and its positive effects all along from the coffee tree to the coffee cup!
With the growing awareness and demand for sustainably produced coffees we have to carefully analyse the supply side as we sometimes face the competition within the market of verified or so called trade mark (labelled) coffees, giving us the challenge of determining the
Commercial value of verified coffees.
Strauss Group has a strong commitment towards Corporate Responsibility and, as part of this, adheres to a Code of Conduct with sound principles and guidelines. A detailed definition can be found on the company’s website
We at Strauss Commodities are proud to play an active part within the sustainability community and are very pleased about Strauss Group’s contribution to the success the 4C Association and its goals of attracting increased awareness amongst the industry and the coffee consumers worldwide!
First published at Strauss’ Blog: Food For Thought